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Kesrouane, Lebanon

Tower of Claudius

The ruins of a monumental tower in the heart of Lebanese mountains still puzzle archeologists. 

Archaeologists aren’t certain about the original purposes of this altar on Mount Lebanon. The ruins of the stone structure, one of four altars in the surrounding area, were once part of either a tower, a tomb, or a temple.

The partially collapsed stone edifice stands on the western side of the Mount Lebanon, on a summit called Faqra. The 52-by-52-foot cube is just over 32 feet tall. But considering its wide base, and the number of stones, it was likely much taller when it was built in 43 AD. A staircase and pieces of pillars and pedestals certainly confirm the place once had a second story, now long gone.

What’s left of two inscriptions above and to the right of the door dedicate the altar to the Roman Emperor Claudius and the god Beelgalasos. Translated from Greek, they read: “In 355 [43 AD], Tholos, son of Rabbomus, the president, at the great god’s expenses he built this” and “To the emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus and the ancestral god Beelgalasos, under Gaius Cassius.”

The whole site is entirely open, and anyone can wander in and around the ruin and the three smaller altars that surround it.

Know Before You Go

The temple (and a myriad of other small archeological sites) can be found up the main road leading to the town and ski resort of Faraya.